LAHORE, Feb 11: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani will take his party allies into confidence on Sunday (today) about his ‘strategy’ to cope with the contempt proceedings in the Supreme Court. The allies have indirectly suggested to the PPP to follow the apex court direction.
A senior PPP leader told Dawn on Saturday that the prime minister would also request the leadership of PPP’s major allies – PML-Q, ANP and MQM – to accompany him in court as they did in the previous appearance.
“So far as the strategy of PM Gilani in court is concerned, not a single party (PPP) leader has differed with the high command that the letter to Swiss authorities should not be written for reopening of cases against President Asif Ali Zardari,” the PPP leader said.
He said the president had immunity under Section 248 of the Constitution and the PPP was not ready to allow anyone to redefine the supreme law.
“We know why all the stress is on writing the letter as once we agree (to it) it will be served as interpreting the president’s constitutional immunity and pave the way to launch ‘get Zardari’ move on legal grounds,” he said.A presidential aide, who requested not to be named, said: “We have completed the consultation process within the party about not writing the letter (to the Swiss authorities). However, some leaders of our allies in individual capacity have suggested us to go for what the Supreme Court is asking for as they are of the view that it will be a mere formality and the president’s immunity will not be challenged in the wake of it,” he said.
“Come what may we will face the consequences as we will follow the constitution with regard to the president’s immunity,” he said and added that PM Gilani was ready for ‘sacrifice’ as he had already started talking about it in public.
“We are fully convinced that Mr Gilani’s sacrifice will give a boost to the party and help lay a strong launching pad for the next election,” the presidential aide said and commented that “finally the PPP will become a political martyr.”
ANP Secretary-General Ehsan Wyne told Dawn that writing the letter was the exclusive domain of the PPP but his party wanted implementation of the Supreme Court orders. “Whether somebody likes it or not, one has to submit fully to the court’s orders,” Mr Wyne said.
PML-Q Information Secretary Kamil Ali Agha said his party did not want clash of institutions. “There should not be a clash between the government and the judiciary as all institutions should work under their constitutional ambit,” he said.
MQM’s Babar Ghauri said the matter was sub judice but added it wanted no clash of institutions.
Meanwhile, PPP Punjab member finance committee Samiullah Khan Durrani said in a message the apex court had rejected the appeal against indictment of the prime minister in contempt case despite the fact that the president enjoyed immunity from any legal proceedings under Article 248 of the Constitution. “Making this article disputable is making the whole constitution disputable,” he remarked.
The PML-N’s insistence on president’s accountability was an effort to avert their (Sharifs’) turn of accountability, he said.
As for the memo affair, he said: “There is no parallel in any judiciary of the world where any witness has been given the facility to give his/her evidence through video-conference. Mansoor Ijaz, who masterminded the controversial memo, has spun a web of lies and there will be nothing new in his conference.”